Record Label’s NFT-Centric Gorillaz Knock-Off Band Stirs Controversy

Though pop musical sensation Gorillaz may have been the first “virtual band,” it looks like they are far from being the last, as Universal Music Group is apparently launching a band comprised of characters that are the digital collectibles known as NFTs or non-fungible tokens.

Fans on social media were critical of the move, with one reason being that the band in question, Kingship, seems like an obvious ripoff of the aforementioned pop supergroup created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. In fact, the characters comprising Kingship are four apes themselves, not to mention the artwork very much resembling Tank Girl co-creator Hewlett’s signature style.

The second — and much more prominent reason — for all the online backlash has to do with NFTs reportedly being terrible for the environment.

Another aspect of the band is that it will perform in what is known as the metaverse, or a virtual-reality-rendered series of interconnected open meeting spaces for internet users to traverse and gather, according to Bloomberg.

NFTs are essentially a form of collectible digital artwork made up of a unique string of code on a digital ledger known as a blockchain, with the value fluctuating depending on the demand, according to CBS News. While NFTs are touted by some as putting the power back in the hands of artists, their association with crypto technology makes them controversial for the environmental toll such technology is thought to exert.

NFTs and cryptocurrencies utilize much computing power to generate, resulting in the exorbitant use of energy and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, some argue.

Twitter users were oscillating between outrage and unbridled roast sessions in their reactions to the news.

And some could not forget the actual Gorillaz dipping their toes in NFTs earlier this year in celebration of their 20th anniversary, despite making Plastic Beach, a lauded album exploring the consequences and mourning of environmental devastation, as reported in NME.

Do you think NFTs are just a fad or are they here to stay? What about their toll on the environment? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.